Thursday, October 13, 2016


Last week on the way to the girls' school I passed a tree by the side of the road.  There are a lot of black walnut trees around the area and at first thought these were just more black walnuts I was driving over.  But as I passed them I realized they didn't look like black walnuts.  They were smaller.
It's a beautiful tree and it sat all by itself on the side of the road at the side of a swamp. I had a small bag in the car so I picked some up. 
 It was pretty easy.  There were a lot of them and some were even out of the hulls. I scooped up what I had time for right then but knew on the way home I'd stop again.  It was a beautiful day. Why not?

I was thinking they were hickory nuts and while I know the best way to crack a black walnut it to drive your car over it, my son-in-law will sit with a hammer on the cement steps laboriously cracking black walnuts for his mother and his Elizabeth. I pictured that and had to work myself into wanting to spend time doing the same with these nuts.
 After I hulled them I had a nice little pile.  Then thought I would wait till a nice day to sit outside on the steps and crack them.  Silly me!  A lil' ol' nutcracker wasn't going to come close to cracking these and I got to wondering how in the world they grow into trees, what kind of muscles does Mother Nature have??  And then I thought of the squirrels and thought that maybe they didn't eat these because there were so many of them on the ground, untouched by squirrel teeth. Squirrels do leave evidence they've been around.  I saw no signs. 
 So, today, I thought I'd attempt harvesting my forage.  I didn't have to sit on the cold ground, I had a concrete block racoon proofing the lid to the bird seed.  I had a dish to hold the bounty.
I am easily bored.  This is my reward for 20 minutes.  It took a few nuts to conquer my fear of smashing my quilting fingers with the hammer but I did find a good way to hold the nut and discovered how much pressure to pound with.  Cracking the nut was the easy part.  Getting it out of the shell, bit by tiny bit was another story.   How did the Native Americans do it?  Was hulling and cracking hickory nuts the job they gave to someone as punishment for a bad deed?  Was this something the women all sat around doing with two rocks, a glass of wine and a bar of chocolate by their side?  I sure hope so.  I have a long way to go, but I'll do it.  Now it's a challenge.


  1. So I know you're a researcher--and so there's probably nothing about nut-cracking you don't already know ... but would it be easier to get the nutmeat out if you roasted them/dried them first? Just wondering ...

  2. Or does amaze me how hard some nuts are to crack.... Enjoy....

  3. Well I have never seen a hickory nut before...We have macadamias